(All numbers are also at bottom of page)
According to a new Families USA Report (co-released with Citizen Action of Wisconsin) the national health care reform law will provide significant new protections for 1.3 million non-elderly Wisconsinites who have pre-existing health conditions and are at risk of insurance company coverage denials. These Wisconsinites constitute more than one in four non-elderly population in the state.
Under the Affordable Care Act, all of these Wisconsinites can no longer be denied coverage, charged a higher premium, or sold a policy that excludes coverage of important health services simply because of a pre-existing condition. These protections begin in January 2014, but children with pre-existing conditions are already protected through the new law against coverage denials.
The likelihood that a Wisconsinite has a pre-existing condition grows as they age: one in five people aged 18 to 24 have a pre-existing condition; more than a third 35-44 year olds have such a condition; as do half of those 55-64 years old.
“This important new report documents an appalling pattern of health insurance industry discrimination which impacts at least 1.3 million non-elderly Wisconsinites from all regions of the state,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “The Affordable Care Act will end once and for all this shocking attack on the basic freedom to control our own health care decisions.”
Governor Scott Walker is refusing to implement the Affordable Care Act until at least after the presidential election. “It is grossly irresponsible for Scott Walker to put partisan politics ahead of the freedom of everyone in Wisconsin to make their own health care decisions, free from discrimination, and to have guaranteed access to quality affordable health coverage,” Kraig continued.
“More than 1.3 million Wisconsinites will now have the peace of mind and security they want for themselves and their families because they can no longer be denied coverage by an insurance company just because their doctor diagnosed a health problem,” Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, said today.
“Teachers, policemen and firefighters, businessmen and laborers, professionals in all walks of life have for decades faced the threat of physical and financial devastation because they could not buy a health insurance policy due to their pre-existing health conditions,” Pollack said. “The Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – stops this discrimination and opens the door to quality coverage for all Wisconsinites.”
According to Families USA, the numbers depicted in the report are conservative for two reasons. First, the analysis only looks at people with diagnosed conditions that are most likely to result in a denial of coverage; many other conditions could also lead to a denial of coverage or a discriminatory premium. Second, many more Wisconsinites likely have similar health conditions, but they have not yet been diagnosed because they are uninsured and didn’t see a doctor.
A copy of the Families USA report, “Worry No More: Wisconsinites with Pre-Existing Conditions Are Protected By the Health Care Law,” is available athttp://familiesusa2.org/assets/pdfs/pre-existing-conditions/Wisconsin.pdf
|Wisconsinites Diagnosed with a Pre-Existing Condition that Could Result in a Denial of Coverage, by County, 2010|
|County||Population under 65|
|Number||Number with a Pre-Existing Condition||Percent with a Pre-Existing Condition|
|Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Washburn||141,500||45,200||31.9%|
|Barron, Clark, Dunn, Polk, Croix||214,200||60,000||28.0%|
|Chippewa, Eau Claire||135,600||38,200||28.2%|
|Adams, Forest, Juneau, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, Portage, Vilas, Wood||246,200||74,300||30.2%|
|Buffalo, Crawford, Jackson, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Trempealeau, Vernon||168,600||47,900||28.4%|
|Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, Richland||121,700||34,800||28.6%|
|Columbia, Dodge, Sauk||173,700||50,200||28.9%|
|Door, Florence, Kewaunee, Manitowac, Marinette, Oconto||170,700||51,300||30.0%|
|Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Menominee, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara||208,000||61,600||29.6%|
|Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago||335,300||93,300||27.8%|
|Notes: Estimates prepared by The Lewin Group for Families USA (see Technical Appendix for details). Data are for the non-institutionalized, non-Medicare-eligible population. Numbers may not add due to rounding.|